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Longest ever Amarnath Yatra concludes with 4.70 lakh devotees performing darshan

On the final day of the yatra, Mahant Deependra Giri, the custodian of the saffron-robed holy mace of Lord Shiva popularly known as ‘Chhari Mubarak’, led the final puja at the Amarnath cave shrine.
Last Updated : 31 August 2023, 11:01 IST

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The longest-ever Amarnath Yatra, lasting 62 days, culminated on Thursday with 4.70 lakh pilgrims paying obeisance at the cave shrine located in south Kashmir Himalayas.

On the final day of the yatra, Mahant Deependra Giri, the custodian of the saffron-robed holy mace of Lord Shiva popularly known as ‘Chhari Mubarak’, led the final puja at the Amarnath cave shrine.

“'Chhari Mubarak' reached Panjtarni on Wednesday for the night halt and left for the cave shrine early today for the final rituals with the commencement of Purnima appearing with the rise of sun on Thursday,” Giri said in a communiqué.

He said the pooja started at the cave shrine on Thursday morning and lasted for two hours on the occasion of Shravan Purnima.

The 62-day yatra commenced simultaneously from both routes -- the Pahalgam track in Anantnag and Baltal in Ganderbal districts on July 1 and culminated on August 31 coinciding with 'Raksha Bandhan' and 'Shravan Purnima'.

According to the officials till August 22, over 4.70 lakh devotees paid obeisance at the holy cave. The pilgrimage, however, was suspended after August 22 due to weather conditions. Forty-six yatris lost their lives due to different health reasons this year while last year, 71 deaths were reported.

In 2022, the yatra ran for 43 days with 3.65 lakh pilgrims paying obeisance at the cave shrine. In 2019, a total of 3.42 lakh pilgrims had taken part before the yatra was curtailed on August 1 ahead of the abrogation of Article 370 on August 5 that year. In 2020 and 2021, the yatra was cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

This year, the yatra also witnessed foreign pilgrims from the USA, Nepal, Singapore, Malaysia and South-Korea. Several distinguished personalities from various walks of life including badminton player Saina Nehwal, Bollywood actress Sara Ali Khan, spiritual guru Jagadguru Ramanandacharya Swami also visited the holy cave.

This year, the administration had made unprecedented arrangements for the devotees on the twin base camps -- the traditional 48-km Nunwan-Pahalgam in south Kashmir’s Anantnag and 14-km shorter Baltal in central Kashmir’s Ganderbal. The yatra passed off peacefully

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Published 31 August 2023, 11:01 IST

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